At least 100 Britons marched through the southern Spanish city of Malaga on Sunday to register their concerns about their uncertain status as Britain prepares to leave the European Union.
Spain is of course home to around 300,000 Britons.
Together with Portugal, Spain accounts for almost a quarter of all Britons living in Europe, U.N. data shows.
“We feel really forgotten here in Spain,” said Hilda Spearing , a 66-year-old who has lived in the Malaga region for 25 years. “Many of us here are pensioners – will we lose our healthcare overnight, for example” she added.
Protesters waved European Union, Spanish and British flags and held banners reading “They’re trying to make us leave the EU” and “Take back control: My grandkids’ future”.
Spain is the most popular European retirement destination for Britons, with around a third of British residents aged over 65.
Among foreign nationals, they are by far the biggest users of Spain’s state-funded universal healthcare system.
Many are concerned they will lose their free access to Spanish healthcare, currently assured by the European Union, as a result of Britain’s exit from the EU state.
Acting Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who could be replaced following November elections, has sought to reassure Britons living in Spain, promising to protect their rights after Britain’s exit from the European Union.
One demonstrator on Sunday said Spain had done more for Britons living in the country than the British government.
“Spain is doing everything it can to protect us,” said Tina Hughes, a 58-year-old from West Midlands,, who has lived in Spain for more than ten years.
“The UK government don’t care and have abandoned us.”